Social Media is Undergoing an Evolution

Marketers continually have to keep an eye out for the latest trends influencing the future of social media and evolve accordingly. Rapid changes present a whole new challenge for brands and social media marketers, as they have to constantly review their existing strategies and pivot to add new types of content to their brand personas.

I’ve pulled together some of the top trends to watch to help you stay on top of your game!

1. Stories Lead Your Content

More than 500 million users interact with Instagram Stories every day. So although Instagram Stories were already the dominant content format in the previous year, they’re not going away any time soon.

Brands will need to take a more organized approach and plan for Stories as a content format for their publishing calendars, if they aren’t already doing so. More importantly, the use of video as Stories will increase since they appear to outperform photos.

And look beyond Instagram. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have all embraced Stories on their platforms.

2. Social Commerce Will Grow, Grow, Grow

With the social media industry constantly adapting to enhance the user experience, I’m seeing more features and tools that support quick and easy shopping. Instagram, for instance, allows you to add product tags and enable easy checkout without ever leaving the platform. On Facebook, you can set up a Shop that people can browse and buy from right on the platform.

This could be the perfect tool for marketers to capitalize on in 2021, especially considering the role of social media in purchase decisions. 54% of social media users research products using social media.

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In fact, simply having a buy button increases the likelihood of purchase and helps move transactions forward on social.

3. Authenticity and Transparency Matter More than Ever

Consumers want brands to get real. That means maintaining authenticity and transparency about your products and operations. If you want people to trust you, you need to be honest with them.

And what better way to do that than through social media?

If you made a mistake, own up to it through a heartfelt social media message. Allow your customers to freely reach out to you in case of any problems or disappointments. And instead of deleting negative comments, openly address them and show them how much you care about their problems.

Audiences are more social-savvy than ever, so you can’t expect to “get away” to attempts to avoid, delete or otherwise sweep missteps under the rug.

4. Virtual Reality Will Become Your Reality

Amid the stay-at-home orders and the need for social distancing, people are seeking more meaningful interactions virtually. Virtual reality (VR) is one of the current technological trends that can provide them with those interactions.

Interacting with people through VR gives you a sense of actually being together, even if they’re halfway across the world. This is the exact kind of experience that people need at a time when they have to socially distance.

2021 is likely to see virtual reality gaining more popularity on social media as platforms push forward with incorporating this technology.

5. Live Streams Are All the Craze

2020 saw many businesses go digital. Face-to-face meetings turned into Zoom conferences, and live concerts turned into live streams of artists playing from their homes.

So naturally, there’s been an uptick in the use of live streaming features on social media. Facebook saw a massive rise in messaging and live streaming, especially in COVID-19 hotspots like Italy.

While the situation continues to evolve in 2021, live streaming will continue to gain popularity and should definitely be a part of your social media marketing strategy.

6. Purpose-Driven Campaigns Will Lead Your Customers

While social media has always driven engagement with causes, the global pandemic has shined an even brighter spotlight on these causes. People want to help more than ever, and they expect brands to pitch in.

As brands navigated multiple crises in 2020, it’s also highlighted the importance of authenticity and backing up their marketing actions. Knowing when to engage and when to back off from a sensitive issue is essential. Audiences expect brands to show leadership and meaningful action on social issues, rather than exploit them for marketing opportunities.

Anticipating the latest social media trends today could help you build a stronger presence for the future. You’ll know just what to watch out for and how to adapt your social strategy according to the current social trends. But knowing what to prioritize next can be a bit of a challenge.